Monthly Archives: October 2011

Yuzu & White Chocolate Teacake

All that healthy dark chocolatey protein genius had to lead to some wicked white witch madness eventually.

So here we are … in the land of sweet and tangy badness goodness.

I had to stop myself from making yuzu curd again or I know I’d just eat it all.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that … but I made yuzu teacake instead.  Because yuzu is just so fantabulous in cake.  In anything.  I’d also promised I’d make something with white chocolate for my papà and I need something to offset that Milky Bar crazy white chocolate sweetness.  YUZU  😀

Now, white chocolate is possibly my natural born enemy … mostly because there isn’t any actual chocolate in it so it drives me nuts.  All that sugar and dairy to wade through, it’s like where’s the cocoa butter?!?!    But when you add something tart, something astringent, citrusy … WOW.

This teacake has a lovely balance of citrusy yuzu punch and a melt-in-your-mouth sweetness from a little white chocolate in the batter.  With its moist, tender crumb, it really doesn’t need any embellishment.  I just had a little leftover white couverture so I drizzled it over the cake.

Fabulous for a sunny day or to brighten up a dull one 😉

This cake isn’t rocket science so without further ado … make, bake, and enjoy!

Makes 1 x 23 cm ringed cake or 1 x 20 cm round cake

Ingredients
125 grams unsalted butter, softened
125 grams sugar
3 large eggs
175 grams unbleached plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
125 millilitres (1/2 cup) yuzu juice*
60 grams white couverture

a little extra white couverture for decoration (optional)

*Yuzu juice is available at most good Japanese or Asian grocery shops.  If you are lucky enough to have fresh yuzu, well, I’m just downright JEALOUS!  Use the juice AND the zest … extra WOW factor.

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 180℃.  Line the tin with non-stick silicon baking paper.  I would suggest you at least line the base of the ring tin, if using, as this cake will stick to the base otherwise.  Just cut out the round piece to size and cut a hole in the middle.  Grease the sides with a little butter and dust out with a little flour.

Place the butter and sugar into a large bowl and whisk or beat until very pale and fluffy.  I beat it until the sugar was dissolved and the mixture was almost white.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.  Add half the flour to the batter and beat until smooth.  Add the yuzu juice and beat on low speed until incorporated and the batter is smooth again.  Add the remaining flour and beat well until the batter is smooth and light.

Chop the white couverture as coarsely or finely as you like.  Fold the chocolate into the batter.  If you would rather have white chocolate chips, you can use those instead.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for about 50 minutes until the cake is risen, golden, and cooked through.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.  Gently remove from the tin on to a serving dish or cake stand.

If you wish, drizzle some melted white chocolate over the top.

The cake keeps well for several days if stored, in an airtight container, in a cool, dry place.

15 Comments

Filed under All Recipe Posts, Cakes, Chocolate, Fruit

Chocolate Orange Protein Fudge Bars

You ever get one those moments when you think “OMG!  I’m not a total moron!  I’m a freaking GENIUS!!” ???

Just me?  Huh.  Just as well, they’re extremely rare.  No need to call the authorities … yet  😀

It’s just that sometimes the stars align perfectly and a miracle happens and shazam, you have yourself the most amazing protein dessert breakfast fudge bar ever.  Sure, I experimented a few times to get it just right but … it’s an outright unabashed chocolate orange proteingasm.

The texture is incredibly moist and fudgy.  The chocolate and orange flavours just explode like a flavour supernova in your mouth.  Wonderful by itself.  Top it with some vanilla cinnamon casein cream and … you’d better be sitting down so you don’t swoon and hit the ground with a thud.  Seriously.  It’s even better if you leave it in the fridge overnight before serving.  I say it every time but … you really don’t have to sacrifice flavour to make it clean and healthy nor do you have to fool yourself by using artificially enhanced powders and ingredients.

Best of all … check out the nutritional profile below.  Yes, I triple checked … where’s the fat?  Barely there.  Look at all the fibre and protein.  Now, I’m being a bit self-serving here because I’m trying to make as many protein snacks as I can that won’t derail my attempts to cut a little body fat without compromising lean muscle mass.  Sound familiar?  I thought I’d be clever and go chocolate free for a week as part of this whole deal.  Well, that lasted all of about three hours.  I mean, who was I kidding?  Me?  Chocolate free?  Ha!  Especially as I’ve been watching the World Chocolate Masters 2011 competition live online every day … *sigh*

More good news.  You don’t need mad baking skills either.  All you need is a miracle food processor … and a little time to throw it all together before putting it in the oven while you head off to do something else while it bakes.

source: missfitclothing.com

Just a suggestion.  I mean, this plus fudge bars makes muscle do its stuff, right?  🙂

I used a blood orange because I love the flavour.  Use your favourite orange variety but try the blood orange if you can.  It’s too wonderful.  Boiling the orange beforehand is the same method as used in the classic flourless orange almond cake you might be familiar with (by Claudia Roden).  Normally, you’d boil the orange for an hour or two.  I’ve reduced that down to 20 minutes as I’d rather keep some of that rawness and freshness of the orange.  It does indeed give a better flavour.

For the cacao, you can use either a raw cacao powder or your favourite unsweetened cacao.  I often use raw cacao for this stuff but yesterday I opened a fresh bag of Valrhona cacao powder.   Valrhonagasm.  The macros are almost identical so it makes no difference.

Pea protein gives the best result, or a 50/50 ratio of pea and micellar casein.  If you use whey protein concentrate, be aware that whey does tend to dry out baked goods and results might vary depending on the brand you use.  There is quite a lot of difference between them.  Do not use whey isolate for baking.  Just don’t.  Trust me.

When you look at the recipe, you’ll notice cannellini beans as an ingredient.  Say what???  Don’t panic.  The bars taste nothing like beans.  But they do add moisture, protein, and fibre.  The bean maketh the bar.  Cannellini beans are also great as they have a higher protein content than most and are a great source of fibre.  The flavour is also very mild so when baked into the bars, it’s completely gone.   Canned beans should be drained and rinsed well under running water.

For the casein pastry cream, I’ve used unflavoured micellar casein by Professional Whey.  I love their protein powders and will never use the flavoured stuff again.  No spakfilla ingredients, no funny sugar substitutes or other ingredients that sound like biological weapons.  This is CLEAN folks.  If you use the other flavoured stuff, the macros might be different.  So factor that in, if it’s important.

Lastly, because I use unflavoured protein powders (why doesn’t everyone?), I added a little maple syrup.  I like it because it’s lower in carbohydrates than sugar and frankly, you can use stevia if you like so the total carb content will be a little lower (but not much).  I occasionally use stevia but I think it tastes weird so … and maple syrup has a more subtle sweetness.  The orange also adds a little sweetness.  These bars are not very sweet though.  If you have an issue with the craving of the sugar … add more or use this as a great way to wean yourself off it.  Yeah.

Yada yada yada … it’s also gluten free and nut free so run amok and enjoy!

They’re incredibly delicious.  Told you.  Genius.

Makes 4 to 6 bars  (I know some dudes who’d eat the entire thing in one sitting … it’s all good)

Ingredients
Chocolate Orange Bars
1 medium orange
120 grams egg white
100 grams canned cannellini beans (drained and rinsed well)
110 grams non-fat quark or cottage cheese (< 0.1%)
30 grams unsweetened cacao
40 grams unflavoured pea or whey protein powder
40 millilitres (2 tablespoons) 100% pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/4 teaspoon natural bitter almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Vanilla Cinnamon Casein Cream
60 grams unflavoured casein (I use Professional Whey Micellar Casein)
5 millilitres (1 teaspoon) 100% pure maple syrup
1 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon cinnamon
water

cacao nibs (optional)

Instructions
Bars
Preheat the oven to 165℃.

I used a 24cm x 7cm bar tin to make this, as it was the perfect size to then cut into  4 bars (or 6 smaller slices).  You can use small individual molds to make bars if you prefer, or double the recipe and use a 20cm square baking dish.  Whatever you do, line the tin with strips of non-stick silicon baking paper.  Set aside.

Place the orange in a saucepan and cover with fresh water.  Bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes or so, until the orange is soft.  Drain and set the orange aside to cool.  When cooled, cut the orange into quarters and remove the white pith in the centre and any pips you find.  Cut the quarters into half again.  We will be using the orange, zest and all.  But no pips … that’s just nasty when biting into a bar 🙂

Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor.  This includes the cooled orange segments.  Process until the batter is smooth.

Pour the batter into the lined tin and bake for about 45 to 50 minutes.  The baking time depends on the size of the tin but also your oven.  You want to underbake these bars and not overbake them, so that they will keep that lovely moist, fudgy texture that melts in your mouth.   They are ready if you insert a skewer into the centre and it comes out with very moist crumbs attached.  They might be a little creamy but not like uncooked batter.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool, in the tin.  Remove the bar gently by lifting it out of the tin using the baking paper overhang as leverage.

Cut into bars.  Store leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator.  It will keep for a couple of days … if you don’t eat it all beforehand!

This is the texture of the bars – very moist, fudgy, and flecked with tiny delicious bits of orange.  Mmmmmm … resistance is useless.

Look! Moist fudgy goodness ... orange bits!

Casein Cream
Place the casein powder, vanilla, cinnamon, and maple syrup in a bowl.  Add a little water, about 80 millilitres or so.  Use a whisk to stir and then whisk it all until smooth.  Add more water, a little at a time, until the consistency is of a thick cream.  The amount of water that you need depends on the casein powder used, as they absorb liquid differently.  I stopped adding water when it got to a lovely pastry cream consistency … like custard.

Cover and refrigerate the cream until ready to use.  Spoon the cream on top of each bar to serve as a dessert.  For diehard cacao lovers, sprinkle a few cacao nibs on top.  Looks spesh, adds that little extra cacao OOOMPH!

If you’re like me, this makes a wicked post-workout breakfast 😀

Nutritional Profile
I’ve included the macros both with and without the casein cream topping.  If you use a flavoured casein, you might not need the vanilla and maple syrup.  If so, just add the macros for the powder you use.  Easy.

48 Comments

Filed under All Recipe Posts, Bars & Slices, Chocolate, Fruit, Protein, Protein Bars, Protein Cakes, Special Diet

Black Velvet … if you please …

You’re thinking I might be channelling my inner goth, aren’t you?  Don’t blame you one bit.  Because, you know, she’s in there.  The goth, that is.   Always has been.  Occasionally I let her out.  I do  😉

But when I looked at my stash of goth and blackest, darkest cupcake finery … hmmm, not this time.  My inner goth will have her moment.  But it is not this moment.  Not today.

Nor is it my attempt at a Halloween cupcake.  No fondant spiders, ghost and ghouls here.  No pumpkins were harmed in the making of these cupcakes.   I don’t do of the novelty cakes, you know that.

Today is Chocolate Chilli Mango’s first anniversary … birthday … whatever it’s called.   Blogiversary?  Really???  I’m clearly not down with all the hipster blog speak.  I had to look it up just now.  Literally 🙂

So, what the heck is up with these black cupcakes????  I’ll get to that …

Ahh … Do I detect a look of disapproval in your eye?  Tough beans buddy, ’cause that’s the way it’s gonna be.     (spoiler alert)

When I started this blog, I did not think it would survive long enough to see its first blogiversary.  Frankly, I gave it a few months before I’d give up, pack up, shut down, and move on.  I honestly thought no-one would ever take a look let alone follow the blog or a Facebook page or actually give the recipes a go.  But WOW …  I am so grateful to all of you fantastic followers and fellow bloggers.  In the past twelve months, I’ve met some unbelievably fabulous and generous bloggers and bakers, both professionals and amateur, like myself.  I’ve also been so lucky to have met and gained a following of fitness crazed wonderful guys and gals and I’m so proud to be one of you, albeit with my dirty sweet secrets.   Your collective feedback and encouragement has been awesome but the best part is hearing back from you when you’ve tried a recipe, maybe modified it, and loved it too … and sharing lots of ideas and recipes.  Whether you’re here for the sweets or the protein and healthy recipes or both.  ‘Cause THAT is what it’s all about.

Thank You Awesome Peeps xxx

Originally, this blog was going to be about complex pastries with, of course, a heavy reliance on chocolate.  I quickly realised, though, that simple things, done a little differently, or maybe just a great classic, are much more fun to blog about.  Plus, I’m no longer making special occasion cakes.  It’s a rare day in which I find the time to set aside a few hours and create something amazing.  If I do, I like to be in the moment and not thinking about the time of day, the lighting, and if I will get a great shot of it for the blog.  So it’s all evolved into something more organic, impromptu, and maybe that’s a good thing.  But there’s a good deal of chocolate in there.  Can’t give up on cacao.  EVER.  Somewhere along the line, my obsession with protein-packed and other healthy treats seems to have taken on a life of its own.  This is perhaps the most challenging part for me and so far it’s been a blast learning from those of you with the knowledge and experience, researching ingredients, and creating my own recipes that are healthy but taste awesome too.

I’ve got a backlog of things to make and post … haven’t forgotten the banana split inspired idea, more lime bars, more chocolate, and some I have thought about and designed but haven’t had time for yet … so for now, I’ll stick around, as long as there is still someone out there who gets a kick out of reading the posts, or making the recipes or just wanting to share in our collective love of baking, food, and chocolate.  What I don’t know about blogging would fill a galaxy but it’s fun to be on the learning curve on the outer spiral arm.  I’m also going to be overhauling the blog with a whole new layout that should be easier to navigate between Wicked and Healthy etc.  Watch this space (just gimme some time…LOL).

So … BLACK CUPCAKES.  What’s that about?  Well, seeing as it’s CCM’s blogiversary (god, is that really a word?), I thought I’d share a little something of myself with you.

From a very young age, I have admired and loved, possibly even worshipped, Audrey Hepburn.  Massive girl crush!  But don’t we all love her?  I have seen all her movies countless times, read and collected books on her life and work, and have this gorgeous poster sitting above my desk to look at every day.   I’ve even got a board on Pininterest devoted to Ms. Hepburn.

She’s my avatar on all my online personal stuff, and good friends call me Holly, because she’s just EVERYWHERE in my universe.  I don’t just admire her sense of style.  I admire her as a human being.  She was such a wonderful combination of ingenue, intelligence, style and substance.  Throughout her successful career and in life, she never gave herself airs and graces, was always grounded, and always put others before herself.  Through it all, she maintained her poise and grace and a fabulous sense of humour.   She was a wonderful humanitarian.  Plus her movies totally rocked. 😀

I wanted to make a cupcake that was elegant and evoked something of Audrey – her personality and style.  Yes, it’s also a bit inspired by her Breakfast at Tiffany’s character, Holly Golightly.   It had to have a simple flavour profile, something that evokes childhood innocence but also sophistication.  A subtle sweetness with a little intensity.  Maybe something that is also good for you.  A little nostalgic, a little elegant richness. 

It had to be black.

I mean, she raised that whole simple, pared down, black outfit deal into an art form.  That means no frothy gaudy frosting.  No clashing flavours.   I hope I have gone some way towards doing all this with The Audrey Cupcake.

The cupcake base is light and super soft, and the flavour of the cake is pure, untainted by added flavourings.  It’s not bland though.  By browning the butter first the cupcakes have a deep, rich nutty flavour.  Yeah, I like doing that.  It tastes amaaazing!  So it’s both simple but also buttery lightness.  Very Audrey.  For the frosting, I went with a version of my favourite cream cheese buttercream.  It’s not overly sweet but has a luscious creamy and velvety texture that never sets hard.  Velvety, elegant and rich.  Wait for it …

The flavouring?  Licorice.  There’s something sweet, innocent, and nostalgic about licorice.  But it can also be rather sophisticated, elegant, and intense.  Not licorice candy.  I used pure licorice extract instead of melting down candy.  The flavour is clean and subtly sweet.  I used three teaspoons in the frosting for a lovely counterpoint to the richness of the buttercream and the brown buttery goodness of the cake underneath.  Start with one teaspoon and add more, until you get the intensity of flavour you wish.   Even if you are not crazy about licorice, I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised.  My doubting taste test panel fell in love with them and I must admit, I love them too, despite not being much of a cupcake aficionado for the most part.

Some black food colouring for visual effect looks rather cool I think.  Audrey cool?  It’s optional.  The frosting will be a light coffee colour without it.  Still looks lovely.  Final touch is a little edible black glitter.  Understated bling for her understated elegance.  Are they elegant?  I think so … a bit Holly Golightly maybe?  I know they’d be better than a bagel for breakfast at Tiffany’s any day 🙂

There are certain shades of limelight that can wreck a girl’s complexion

I hope I am not guilty of doing that here.   Here’s to you, Ms. Hepburn, with love … my humble tribute to you, in a cupcake.   Simple but deliciously lovely.

A note on the cupcakes:  I have a few cupcake recipes on this blog.  THIS is the best.  The lightest, softest, most delicious perfect cupcake ever.  These cupcakes do not dry out and I’ve purposefully kept some for 5 days and they are still as lovely as when freshly made.

Enjoy 🙂

The Audrey Cupcake

Makes 24 small or 15 large cupcakes

Ingredients
Cupcakes
125 grams unsalted butter
125 grams sugar
2 x 60 gram eggs
125 grams plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
125 millilitres milk
1 teaspoon fresh lime or lemon juice

Licorice Buttercream
125 grams unsalted butter
250 grams cream cheese
125 grams icing sugar
2 – 3 teaspoons pure licorice extract*
black food colouring (optional)
edible black glitter (optional)

*available at some health food stores and naturopaths or from European professional baking suppliers.  I got mine from a naturopath.

Instructions
Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 180℃.  Place 24 small cupcake liners on a baking tray and set aside.

Cut the butter into pieces and place in a saucepan over a low heat.  Melt the butter and cook until it starts to brown and gives off a warm, nutty aroma.  Stir from time to time to make sure the butter browns evenly.  Take care not to let it burn.  Remove from the heat and pour into a large bowl.   Set aside to cool slightly and then refrigerate until it starts to set again but is not too firm.  It should be the consistency of softened butter.

Add the sugar to the butter and whisk until the mixture is light, fluffy and the sugar is dissolved.  Add the eggs and whisk until the batter is smooth and light.

Sift together the flour and baking powder.  Add the lemon or lime juice to the milk.  Add half the flour to the batter and beat until smooth.  Add the milk and finally the remaining flour.  Whisk the batter until smooth and light.  Divide the batter between the cupcake liners.

Bake for about 20 minutes until risen and golden.  Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.  You can store these, at room temperature, in an airtight container, if making ahead before frosting with the buttercream.

Licorice Buttercream
Melt the butter and set aside to cool.  Whisk together the cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth and creamy.   Whisk the cooled butter until slightly thickened.  Add the butter to the cream cheese mixture and whisk until smooth.  Add a little licorice extract to taste.  Finally, add a little black food colouring, if desired, to give the buttercream a deep licorice tint.

Cover and refrigerate the buttercream for 20 – 30 minutes before frosting the cupcakes.  This buttercream pipes beautifully and holds its shape without setting or becoming hard on standing or refrigerated.

Pipe the buttercream on to each cupcake.  If desired, add a little edible black glitter for a touch of bling.

Unfrosted, the cakes keep well up to a week if stored in an airtight container.  Frosted, store in the refrigerator.  They will keep for up to 5 days at least and be as delicious as freshly made.

27 Comments

Filed under All Recipe Posts, Cupcakes

Roasted Pepper Fritatta

Ah ha!!  A savoury post … don’t fall off your chairs, people … it’s OK.  Really.

Hey, I love cooking in all its forms, not just the making of the sweets and the protein recipes 🙂

Honestly, I made this today because I had no idea what to cook for lunch and little time to prepare anything.  Nothing like a fritatta to save the day.  All you need to do is look around in the pantry and the vegetable crisper and you’ve got yourself a star attraction meal that saves the day and your kitchen credentials.

I might add that this is a fabulous dish for those of you, like me, who try to eat clean and healthy for 80 – 90% of the time. You can make this with egg whites only, but frankly, eggs are a whole food.  It’s all good.  It’s all clean.  Would be a shame to throw out those lovely golden organic free range egg yolks.  This is a high protein and relatively low fat and low carbohydrate dish.  The amount of oil needed is really only about one or two teaspoons at most when using a non-stick pan.  It’s also full of antioxidants and a rich source of vitamins C and A as well as a host of essential amino acids.

It’s fresh, it’s summery and perfect with a green salad and maybe a little avocado on the side.  Crusty bread is optional.  It would be fantastic for a picnic lunch or as part of a mediterranean inspired antipasto platter.  I serve it on a chopping board and cut it with a pizza wheel.  Nice, rustic, Italian style 😀

Without further ado … enjoy!

Serves 2 hungry adults or 4 – 6 as part of a antipasto platter

Ingredients
2 capsicums (bell peppers) – red and yellow or orange
5 large eggs
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 good sprig each fresh oregano and thyme
salt and black pepper
1 small chilli (optional)
1 shallot
1 clove garlic
extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 180℃.  You will need a fritatta pan of about 24 cm in diameter, that you can place in the oven.  I use a non-stick paella dish with metal handles.  It is brilliant.

Grill or roast the capsicums.  You can do this well ahead of time.  For the best flavour, do this on a barbeque or grill.  If you can’t (as I could not today), roast them in the oven for about 30 minutes, on a lined baking tray. Turn them from time to time, until the skin blackens and they become soft.  Remove from the oven and place the peppers in a plastic bag until cooled enough to handle.  Remove the pith and seeds and as much of the charred skin as possible.  Slice thinly and chop, if desired.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs.  Finely chop together the parsley, oregano, and thyme.   Add to the eggs and season well with salt and pepper.  Make sure you do season the fritatta mix well.

Finely chop the chilli, if using, and add to the eggs, along with the sliced peppers.  Mix with a spoon.

You can also add a little grated parmigiano reggiano or grana padano to the egg mix if you like.

Finely chop the shallot and garlic.

Heat the pan and add a drizzle of olive oil.  Add the shallot and garlic, lower the heat and let them soften gently.  Don’t try to fry and brown them or you won’t release the sweetness from the shallots and garlic.

When soft, turn up the heat and add the egg mixture.  Make sure the mixture is evenly distributed across the pan.  It helps to also lift the edges with a spatula to let the mix get underneath.  Turn the heat to medium and cook for 5-10 minutes, until the base is starting to brown and sets.

Place the fritatta in the oven for a further 10-12 minutes at 180℃ to finish cooking the top and centre.  It is ready when the top is nicely set and starting to become golden around the edges.

Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

How easy and fabulous was that?  Check out the bright fresh colours!

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Filed under All Recipe Posts, Protein, Savouries, Special Diet

Salted Brown Butter Shortbreads

I solemnly swear I am up to no good …

This weekend I was supposed to make some healthy snacks for the coming week.  Except a voice kept popping up in my head whispering salted caramelbrowned buttercookieeeees.   Well, that was never going to end up in me making healthy snacks, was it?  Nope.  I was all too swiftly led astray by a Marauder’s Map of sugary buttery delights.

I honestly didn’t want to make salted caramel but desperately wanted something that evoked that aroma and flavour.  These shortbreads did that in spades.  O. M. G.  The aroma!  These guarantee a full on sensory experience.  The whole house smelled of brown butter and a lot like salty caramel, even though there’s no actual caramel in these shortbreads.  It’s all due to using dark brown sugar, which has a lovely toffee caramel flavour and aroma.

I actually found myself eating scraps of cookie dough.  I never do that.  Seriously, neverUntil now.

The family’s verdict?  Are they for us?  Yay! Why didn’t you make a bigger batch?

Ummm … I did eat a bit of the dough … 😀

The dough is quite soft but not too hard to handle.  If you find it difficult to roll out, just press the dough into a loose-bottomed tart tin or individual sized tart tins.  A good trick is to roll the dough out between two sheets of silicon baking paper.  It is then guaranteed not to stick and you don’t need extra flour for rolling.  This is important as too much flour will make the shortbread more tough and not as flaky … crumbly … buttery … you know.  It won’t be as delicious and texturally delightful.  Just make sure you refrigerate the dough so it is cold before rolling.  This will make it easier to cut the dough into rounds, or shapes, and lift them on to the baking sheet.

I rolled these out into thin discs to make dainty rounds.  They’d be just as great if you leave them somewhat thicker … more melt-in-your-mouth shortbread goodness per square centimetre.

Serve these with an espresso for a totally wild coffee experience.  They may not look fancy but just try stopping at one … or two … or three …

They are very easy and quick to make.  Enjoy!

Mischief managed  🙂

Makes about 48 cookies or 1 x 20cm – 22cm shortbread round

Ingredients
250 grams unsalted butter
130 grams dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla bean paste
350 grams plain flour
2 teaspoons Fleur de Sel de Guérande or Murray River Salt

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 180℃.  Line 2 large baking sheets with silicon baking paper or Silpat sheets.  Alternatively, you can use a loose-bottomed tart tin to make one large shortbread round or use smaller ones for individual sized shortbreads.  Line the base.

Cut the butter into pieces and place in a saucepan over a low heat.  Melt the butter and cook until it starts to brown and gives off a warm, nutty aroma.  Stir from time to time to make sure the butter browns evenly.  Take care not to let it burn.  Remove from the heat and pour into a large bowl.   Set aside to cool slightly and then refrigerate until it starts to set again but is not too firm.  It should be the consistency of softened butter.

Add the sugar and vanilla to the browned butter and whisk or beat until very light and fluffy and the sugar is dissolved.

Finally, add the flour and salt and mix to form a soft dough.

If making one large shortbread round, press the dough into the tin (or individual molds) and flatten the surface.  Refrigerate for 30 mins before baking.

If making cookies, as I did, flatten the dough into a disc, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up.  Roll out the pastry to about 4mm thickness and cut into cookies using your favourite cookie cutter.  I used a simple round cookie cutter of 5 cm diameter.  Place the cookies on the baking sheets and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  This will make sure the cookies keep their shape as they bake.

Prior to baking, lightly sprinkle a little extra Fleur de Sel de Guérande or other salt on each cookie.  You can lightly press the salt into the cookie to make sure it adheres to the dough properly but do this gently.   Bake the cookies for about 10 – 12 minutes.  You may need to rotate the sheets half way through baking to make sure they brown evenly.  They will be a golden colour when cooked.

For the large shortbread round,  prick the surface lightly with a fork.  Sprinkle a little extra Fleur de Sel de Guérande or other salt over the surface of the shortbread and again, you can very gently press the salt on to the dough.  Bake for about 20 – 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.    If baking a large round, let cool completely in the tart tin and remove when cooled.  Store in an airtight container.

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Filed under All Recipe Posts, Biscuits & Cookies